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A Refresher on the Case for Campus Carry in Texas


The term “campus carry” refers to the licensed, concealed carry of handguns on college campuses. The key words there are “licensed” and “concealed.” There is no movement to let everybody carry guns on campus or to let licensees carry visible handguns—aka “open carry”—on campus.

Even in gun-loving Texas, less than 4% of the population is licensed to carry a handgun. Among Texans of typical college age, the rate is less than 1%. Those license holders, age 21 and above, have passed a training course, a shooting test, and extensive background checks and are authorized to carry guns virtually everywhere else, including at college parties, which almost always take place off campus.

Campus carry is about personal protection, not campus protection. The question isn’t whether it lowers on-campus crime rates or serves as a deterrent to crime; the question is whether there is justification to deny licensees on campus the same measure of self-defense they enjoy at movie theaters, shopping malls, churches, and museums. The question is whether there is a fundamental difference between carrying a gun at a municipal library and carrying a gun at a university library.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, licensees are convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon at 1/7 the rate of unlicensed Texans (NOTE: that statistic includes all Texas children in the number of unlicensed Texans; the contrast is even greater when only adults are counted). The campus carry policy working group at the University of Texas at Austin found no reports of resulting assaults or suicides at campus-carry colleges and reported, “We reached out to 17 research universities in the seven campus-carry states…Most respondents reported that campus carry had not had much direct impact on student life or academic affairs.”

The preponderance of peer-reviewed studies on licensed carry have concluded that it cannot be shown to lead to an increase in violent crime. Furthermore, there is little or no evidence that it negatively impacts free speech in the places where it’s allowed, including more than 100 U.S. college campuses and several state capitols.

Put simply, the evidence strongly suggests that licensed concealed carry will have no detrimental effect on Texas college campuses and that there is no justification to deny licensed students, faculty, staff, or guests on those campuses the same measure of personal protection they enjoy throughout the rest of the state.


SCC’s Feb. 17 – July 18, 2016, Texas press releases: http://www.tinyurl.com/txscc-feb-july-releases

All SCC statements regarding the various policies proposed by UT-Austin: http://tinyurl.com/scc-on-ut-austin

SCC’s website for Texas Senate Bill 11: http://www.WhyCampusCarry.com

Students for Concealed Carry Statement on Veto of House Bill 859




Robert Eagar, Southeast Regional Director: robert.eagar@concealedcampus.org
Zachary Zalneraitis, Director of Public Relations: zachary.zalneraitis@concealedcampus.org

Students for Concealed Carry Statement on Veto of House Bill 859

Atlanta, GA – Students for Concealed Carry is extremely disappointed to learn that Governor Deal has chosen to veto HB 859.  With the stroke of his pen, he has left members of our campus communities to be victims of violent crimes, targeted by criminals as sitting ducks.

Governor Deal had historically indicated he would sign any pro-gun legislation that reached his desk, but evidently this guarantee given to the people of the state of Georgia does not extend to the students, faculty and staff who are disarmed by their choice to seek higher education or to help teach the best and the brightest in our state.

We hope this bill will be brought back to the floors of the House and Senate to override Governor Deal’s veto in the subsequent legislative session, especially in the light of comments he gave to the Atlanta Journal Constitution regarding campus carry legislation:  “We heard all the hype that we’re now hearing about campus carry, all the predictions of tragedies.  All the predictions that we were going to open our state up to a Wild West scenario.  Those earlier fears don’t appear to have come true.  So, therefore, to use those kind of arguments with the campus carry discussion, I think lacks validity.”

SCC would like to take a moment to especially thank Representatives Rick Jasperse, Mandi Ballinger, John Meadows, Alan Powell, Dustin Hightower, Trey Kelley and Senator Jesse Stone for their efforts to pass this bill.  These legislators have persevered to ensure our rights are restored and to augment the safety of our campus communities.  Further commendations go to Lt. Governor Casey Cagle for his instrumental role in bringing this bill to the floor of the Senate.

Students for Concealed Carry’s Statement on the Murder at UT-Austin




Antonia Okafor, Southwest Regional Director, Students for Concealed Carry (SCC): antonia.okafor@concealedcampus.org

Michael Newbern, Assistant Director of Public Relations: michael.newbern@concealedcampus.org

AUSTIN, TX – The recent murder of a female undergraduate on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin serves as a tragic reminder that college campuses, though typically safe, do play host to every form of violent crime found throughout the rest of society. No matter how much we want to believe that universities are safe spaces shielded from the dangers of the “real world,” the truth is that the only thing separating most campuses from the rest of the world is a sidewalk. And as we saw at UT-Austin, that sidewalk can be crossed at any time, without warning.

Anti-campus carry activists who harp on the fact that college campuses are statistically very safe (typically on par with affluent neighborhoods in the same city) presuppose that a holder of a license to carry (LTC) a handgun should only carry a gun in places where violent crime is likely. However, like most reasonable people, LTC holders generally avoid places where violence is likely. They choose to carry handguns in case violence finds them some place where they had no reason to expect it, such as at a movie theater, a restaurant, or even a college campus.

The trained, licensed, carefully screened adults (age 21 and above) who regularly carry concealed handguns in presumably safe locations such as shopping malls, churches, libraries, museums, and even the Texas Capitol are the same ones who’ll soon be authorized to carry concealed handguns on Texas college campuses. However, UT-Austin President Gregory Fenves and the university’s campus carry policy working group have crafted policies that, in conflict with the intent of the campus carry law passed by the Texas Legislature, will leave LTC holders less able to defend themselves on the University of Texas campus than in most other places throughout the state.

Imagine that you’re a 22-year-old woman walking back to your car after studying late at the UT library. As you reach for your car door, a man lunges from the shadows and grabs your other arm. Your adrenaline surges, and your mind goes to the concealed handgun tucked into your waistband. As the man twists your arm and tries to force you to the ground, your free hand grabs the gun. You draw it just as his free hand draws a knife from his pocket. You point the gun at your assailant, squeeze the trigger, and…CLICK. Per UT-Austin’s campus carry policy, your gun’s chamber is empty. Even if you had an extra second to chamber a round, you’d need both hands free to do so.

Now imagine that you’re a female university employee walking through that same garage when a man with a knife steps out in front of you. Your first instinct is to reach for the secret handgun pocket built into the side of your purse, but it’s empty. Because you’re never sure when your job will require you to visit an office that the occupant has declared “gun-free,” you’re seldom able to carry your gun on campus. According to state law, you have the right to carry a concealed handgun on campus, but thanks to university policy, you enjoy that right in name only.

The recent tragedy at UT-Austin should serve as a wakeup call to university administrators who seek to handicap LTC holders on campus. Antonia Okafor, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry, commented, “The senselessness of this heinous crime reaffirms that we can’t try to predict when and where violence will strike. For that reason, vetted, licensed adults should enjoy the same measure of personal protection on campus that they already enjoy virtually everywhere else.”

Student for Concealed Carry extends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of the young woman murdered at UT-Austin. In deference to her family’s statement that “the last thing she would want is to be the poster child for any cause,” we have refrained from using her name in this release.


ABOUT STUDENTS FOR CONCEALED CARRY — Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) is a national, non-partisan, grassroots organization comprising college students, faculty, staff, and concerned citizens who believe that holders of state-issued concealed handgun licenses should be allowed the same measure of personal protection on college campuses that current laws afford them virtually everywhere else. SCC is not affiliated with the NRA or any other organization. For more information on SCC, visit ConcealedCampus.org or Facebook.com/ConcealedCampus. For more information on the debate over campus carry in Texas, visit WhyCampusCarry.com.


“In wake of death, UT confronts questions of security” (Austin American-Statesman): http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/in-wake-of-death-ut-confronts-questions-of-securit/nq3Hx/

“Dangers of Waller Creek Where University of Texas-Austin Student Was Killed Long Known” (Patch.com): http://patch.com/texas/downtownaustin/dangers-waller-creek-where-university-texas-austin-was-killed-long-known

SCC’s Feb. 17 – April 11 Texas Press Releases: http://tinyurl.com/tx-scc-press-releases


SCC’s Response to Slapdash ‘Newsweek’ Hatchet Job

AUSTIN, TX – The same pseudo-journalist who repeated conspiracy theories about SCC’s founding and funding, without noting that those theories originated with a national gun-control conglomerate, is back at it with an article that, beginning with the headline itself, is nothing but a straw man argument. In his Newsweek article inaccurately titled “Campus carry advocates suggest gun might have prevented University of Texas murder,” Max Kutner makes no attempt to craft anything but a hit piece as he purports to analyze SCC’s official statement on the recent murder at the University of Texas at Austin.

For six days following the first news of this tragic crime, Students for Concealed Carry declined media requests for comment and refrained from issuing a press release on the matter. Only once the basic facts of the crime were known and the UT community had had an opportunity to grieve did SCC issue a public statement acknowledging that this senseless murder serves as a painful reminder that college campuses are not immune to violent crime.

In issuing that statement, SCC took care to avoid naming either the victim or the suspected perpetrator and to refrain from saying anything that might be perceived as unsubstantiated speculation as to contributing factors or circumstances under which the outcome might have been different.

The statement released by SCC is not about the specifics of this crime or its victim; therefore, how the victim or her family might have felt about campus carry has little bearing on the matter. We do not suggest that the victim should have been carrying a gun or even—given her young age—that she should have had the option to carry a gun. Furthermore, we do not postulate that the outcome of this crime would have been different if the victim had been carrying a gun. Our only objective in referencing this crime is to acknowledge the reality that violent crimes do occur on college campuses. That fact does not change based on someone’s personal feelings about campus carry.

An academic community should understand better than any other that educated decisions must be informed by factual evidence. It is unrealistic to think that a murder on a college campus will not be cited in a debate about whether or not people need the ability to defend themselves on college campuses. Just as an advocate for school bus safety can cite a tragic school bus accident without crassly politicizing the incident, proponents of campus carry can cite an on-campus murder without crassly politicizing that incident.

Short of completely ignoring a crime that goes to the heart of our organization’s mission, we at SCC did everything in our power to be respectful of the victim, the victim’s family, and the UT community. We are completely comfortable with the actions we took, and we can only hope that the individuals and organizations who choose to criticize those actions do so out of grief and not out of a cynical desire to effect their own political ends.

Does a prominent anti-campus carry activist have a history of violence against women?



Antonia Okafor, Southwest Regional Director, Students for Concealed Carry (SCC): antonia.okafor@concealedcampus.org
Michael Newbern, Assistant Director of Public Relations: michael.newbern@concealedcampus.org

HOUSTON, TX – Alex J. Colvin, the founder, president, and lone spokesperson for Gun Free UH (University of Houston), has built a well-publicized anti-campus carry campaign on a series of ad hominem attacks and conspiracy theories regarding Students for Concealed Carry; however, Colvin, a 57-year-old UH undergraduate, may not be the best poster boy for the anti-campus carry movement, given that he was arrested in 2001—at the age of 42—for battery of a 19-year-old woman.

According to police records obtained by Students for Concealed Carry, Mr. Colvin was arrested shortly after midnight on July 4, 2001, at the home of a neighbor, in Clearwater, Fla. The report filed by the responding officer from the Clearwater Police Department reads as follows (NOTE: all names except for Mr. Colvin’s have been redacted):

Upon arrival, I spoke with the complaintant [sic], Alex Colvin.  Colvin was very intoxicated and was hard to understand.  Colvin’s speech was slurred and he was having trouble standing.  Colvin stated that his neighbor, [alleged victim], sprayed him with pepper spray.  Colvin stated [alleged victim] did this, while he was standing on his patio.  Colvin stated that he did not do anything to [alleged victim].

I spoke with [alleged victim] and she gave me the following statement.  [Alleged victim] said that Colvin kept coming over to [first witness]‘s apartment.  [Alleged victim] stated that Colvin was asked to leave several times.  Colvin threw a drink on the back door of the apartment and then later threw a glass at [alleged victim].  Colvin came back to the apartment and [alleged victim] told him he could not come in.  [Alleged victim] was standing in front of Colvin on the patio.  Colvin started walking towards [alleged victim][Alleged victim] told Colvin to stay back or she would spray him with pepper spray.  [Alleged victim] told Colvin this several times.  Colvin grabbed [alleged victim] and pushed her and she fell backwards.  [Alleged victim] then sprayed Colvin with pepper spray.  Colvin left the patio and went back to his apartment.

I spoke with [second witness] and he stated that Colvin was harrassing [sic] [alleged victim].  Colvin kept coming at her in a threatening manner.  [Alleged victim] told Colvin several times to stay back or she would spray him.  Colvin grabbed [alleged victim] by her arms and pushed her backwards.  [Alleged victim] then sprayed Colvin.

[Alleged victim] stated that she just wanted Colvin to stay away from her and her friends.  [Alleged victim] stated that if Colvin would leave her alone, she did not want to prosecute.  Colvin was advised to stay away from [alleged victim] and her friends.  Officers cleared from the scene.

At 0045 hours, Officers were sent back to the above address, because Colvin had returned to [first witness]‘s apartment.  I spoke with [first witness] and he stated that Colvin knocked on his back door.  [First witness] opened the door and Colvin walked into his apartment.  Colvin would not leave and needed to be pushed out the door.  Colvin was trheatening [sic] to harm [alleged victim].

[Alleged victim] advised officers that she wanted to press charges against Colvin for the initial battery.  I attempted to speak with Colvin, but he was too intoxicated to talk.  Colvin was arrested for battery and transported to Pinellas County Jail.  Colvin was turned over to PCSO.

Three months after this incident, the charges against Mr. Colvin were dropped because the assistant state’s attorney felt there was “insufficient evidence” to secure a conviction. However, that is of little comfort to SCC Southwest Regional Director Antonia Okafor, with whom Mr. Colvin seems to have an unhealthy obsession.

Ms. Okafor commented, “Now that I know about Mr. Colvin’s checkered past, the fact that he’s practically stalking me on social media is downright scary. Men like him are the very reason I shouldn’t be denied the means to protect myself on campus.”
Michael Newbern, assistant director of public relations for SCC, added, “I think it’s quite telling that Mr. Colvin uses his Facebook and Twitter accounts to target SCC’s female directors while leaving the male directors alone. Like criminals, bullies target people they view as weak. One of the reasons I joined SCC was to ensure that the type of demented coward who would attack an unarmed woman will no longer have a government guarantee that law-abiding women are, in fact, disarmed.”

Mr. Colvin’s questionable past, vitriolic tweets, and angry comments seem to hint at issues that run much deeper than opposition to campus carry. His attitude toward proponents of campus carry exhibits symptoms of psychological projection. A 2004 article by Toronto psychiatrist Brad Bowins, published in The American Journal of Psychoanalysis, explains, “Projection alters experience such that it is believed that unacceptable impulses and attitudes arise not from the self but from an outside object. Hence, aggressive urges are perceived and re-acted to as coming from someone else when they are really your own.” The article goes on to note, “The cognitive distortion…serves to diminish responsibility and acceptance of impulses, affect, and ideas.”

Okafor concluded, “We can’t help but wonder if Mr. Colvin’s fear of concealed handgun license holders—whom he describes  as ‘cowards, sociopaths, antisocials, and malcontents’—isn’t a projection of his own violent urges and personal shortcomings onto those of us who simply want to enjoy the same measure of personal protection on campus that we already enjoy virtually everywhere else.”

SCC’s Feb. 2016 – March 2016 Texas press releases are posted here: http://tinyurl.com/scc-press-releases

SCC’s May 2015 – Jan. 2016 Texas press releases are posted to SCC’s main website/blog here: http://www.ConcealedCampus.org

SCC’s Dec. 2014 – April 2015 Texas press releases are included in SCC’s 2015 Texas legislative handout, which is embed here: http://www.whycampuscarry.com/the-facts.html

SCC makes anti-campus carry conspiracy theorists an offer they can’t refuse.



Antonia Okafor, Southwest Regional Director, Students for Concealed Carry (SCC): antonia.okafor@concealedcampus.org
Michael Newbern, Assistant Director of Public Relations: michael.newbern@concealedcampus.org

AUSTIN, TX – In response to anti-campus carry activists at the University of Texas and the University of Houston who espouse the conspiracy theory (started by the gun-control group Everytown for Gun Safety) that Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) was founded by and is funded by well-financed groups within the Tea Party, libertarian, and gun-rights movements, SCC announced today that it will donate $5,000 to any gun-control group—or to any 501(c)(3) non-profit organization designated by the gun-control group—that can, by March 31, 2016, prove any of the following:

  1. The national organization Students for Concealed Carry (SCC)/Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC) currently receives or previously received regular funding from one or more of the following organizations:
    • The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC);
    • The Leadership Institute (LI);
    • CampusReform.org;
    • Gun Owners of America (GOA);
    • The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF);
    • The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA);
    • The National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR);
    • Texas Gun Rights (TXGR);
    • The Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC);
    • The National Rifle Association (NRA);
    • The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA);
    • The Texas State Rifle Association (TSRA);
    • Any national or statewide gun-rights group, Second Amendment organization, firearms trade organization, or firearms manufacturer;
    • The Tea Party Patriots;
    • Tea Party Express;
    • Tea Party Nation;
    • National Tea Party Federation (NTPF);
    • The Nationwide Tea Party Coalition;
    • FreedomWorks;
    • Americans for Tax Reform;
    • Americans for Prosperity (AFP);
    • Any Tea Party organization;
    • Charles G. Koch and/or David H. Koch (aka the Koch brothers);
    • Any political party;
    • Any political campaign; or
    • Any political action committee;
  2. The Texas chapter of Students for Concealed Carry/Students for Concealed Carry on Campus currently receives or previously received regular funding from one or more of the organizations listed in claim #1;
  3. One or more of the organizations listed in claim #1 played a role in the conception and/or founding of Students for Concealed Carry/Students for Concealed Carry on Campus;
  4. One or more of the organizations listed in claim #1 provided startup capital to Students for Concealed Carry/Students for Concealed Carry on Campus;
  5. One or more of the organizations listed in claim #1 have or had a leadership role in or measure of governance over Students for Concealed Carry/Students for Concealed Carry on Campus; or
  6. Students for Concealed Carry/Students for Concealed Carry on Campus has ever been governed or controlled by any individual or organization other than the directors publicly named by SCC/SCCC at that time;

Antonia Okafor, Southwest director for Students for Concealed Carry, commented, “Since being founded in 2007 by college students shocked by the Virginia Tech massacre, Students for Concealed Carry has faced occasional rumors about its origins and funding. Such rumors are without factual basis but serve opponents’ intended purpose of derailing any discussion of the facts of campus carry.”

The currently circulating conspiracy theory—specifically, that SCC is a Tea Party front funded and directed by some combination of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Leadership Institute (LI), and/or Gun Owners of America (GOA)—stems from a July 5 article in The Trace, the official publication of the gun-control group Everytown for Gun Safety. While it’s fair to assume that The Trace is no more impartial on issues of gun rights than is the NRA publication America’s First Freedom, SCC doesn’t need to rely on ad hominem attacks to rebut the article’s claims.

In its 3,252 words, the Trace article, titled “The Secret History of the Campus Carry Movement,” offers only two pieces of evidence—both circumstantial—to support its claims. First, it notes that the Leadership institute offers grants to campus-based conservative groups. Second, it notes that the Leadership Institute and Gun Owners of America together advertised in 2006 that they were looking for college students to start “pro-gun” groups on university campuses. Neither of those facts has any connection to the founding, funding, or administration of Students for Concealed Carry.

The Leadership Institute’s grant program gives money to small campus groups, not large national organizations. Several of SCC’s campus chapters have applied for and received one-time $500 startup grants from the Leadership Institute, but that money was awarded to individual campus chapters, not SCC’s Texas chapter or national organization. For example, SCC’s University of Texas or University of Houston chapter might get $500 to help with purchasing signs, T-shirts, tabling supplies, etc.; however, SCC’s state and national leaders would never see any of that money or even know about it unless someone from that campus chapter happened to mention it to them. Donations received at the campus level help that chapter establish itself on campus but do not help SCC’s state-level lobbying efforts and do not influence SCC’s agenda, which is set at the national level. Because SCC does not provide funding to campus chapters, campus chapters are free to seek funding as they see fit.

As for LI and GOA placing a 2006 advertisement expressing interest in starting “pro-gun” groups on college campuses, that is what is known as a coincidence (a coincidence that nobody at SCC was aware of until The Trace reported on it). Presumably, the author of the article dug up LI and GOA’s ten-year-old advertisement and drew his own conclusions.

Far from “laying the groundwork for SCC,” this effort by LI and GOA seems to have gone nowhere, as there was no sign of it a year later when SCC was founded by a political science major at the University of North Texas, in response to the mass shooting at Virginia Tech. Two months after starting SCC, that UNT student got tired of working forty hours a week at an unpaid job and stepped down. Four other unpaid volunteers then stepped up, took over, and developed an organizational structure that allowed SCC to evolve from a Facebook group and one-page website into the thriving organization it is today. Any one of those five founders would have jumped at an offer of funding (particularly, as the article claims, a $50,000/year salary), but no such offer was ever made.

Contrary to the claims made by The Trace, no preexisting organization had any hand in the founding of SCC, no outside organization has ever provided regular funding to SCC, and no organization has ever provided salaries to SCC leaders (who are all unpaid volunteers). SCC has occasionally received help or cooperation from outside organizations, but such help has always been limited in scope. For example, when SCC’s Texas chapter held a fundraising drive to raise money to air a pro-campus carry television commercial (to combat the $80,000 anti-campus carry ad buy by Everytown for Gun Safety), the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) donated $1,500, and GOA donated $500. Those are the two largest cash donations SCC or any of its state chapters have ever received from an outside group.

A much more common type of outside help comes in the form of groups cosponsoring events with SCC or working with SCC to push legislation (e.g., SCC and the Second Amendment Foundation co-hosted two national conferences on campus carry; SCC, the NRA, and the Texas State Rifle Association frequently shared information when working to pass campus carry in Texas). Such cooperation among organizations with a shared goal is not unusual—it does not equate to an outside organization secretly directing or funding SCC and doesn’t amount to anything resembling the type of conspiracy claimed by SCC’s opponents.

In a February 29 op-ed published in Quartz (QZ.com), Lina del Castillo, assistant professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin, describes SCC as “the most visible, well-funded peddler of misleading information on pro-campus carry in the nation” (not surprisingly, the phrase “well-funded” links to the July 5 article from The Trace). If Ms. Del Castillo could see SCC’s financial statements or witness the sacrifices SCC’s leaders have made to keep the organization alive, she would be embarrassed for making that claim. Unlike Everytown for Gun Safety, SCC has no wealthy benefactor or rich donors footing the bill. SCC owes its existence to the small cash donations and huge time donations made by its members. The people who write SCC’s press releases and testify on behalf of SCC at Senate hearings and promote SCC on college campuses all do so without compensation, because they believe in and care about this cause.

Opponents’ claims about SCC’s founding and funding are untrue and unproductive. Those opponents would do well to remember that intellectually honest people can disagree on questions of policy without resorting to conspiracy theories or baseless conjecture to undermine their opponents’ views.


ABOUT STUDENTS FOR CONCEALED CARRY — Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) is a national, non-partisan, grassroots organization comprising college students, faculty, staff, and concerned citizens who believe that holders of state-issued concealed handgun licenses should be allowed the same measure of personal protection on college campuses that current laws afford them virtually everywhere else. SCC is not affiliated with or funded by the NRA or any other organization. SCC is a pioneer in the field of long-form press releases. For more information on SCC, visit ConcealedCampus.org or Facebook.com/ConcealedCampus. For more information on the debate over campus carry in Texas, visit WhyCampusCarry.com.

Excerpt from SCC’s Mission Statement (which hasn’t changed since the organization’s founding, when it was known as Students for Concealed Carry on Campus):

Both the membership and the leadership of SCCC are made up of individuals with very diverse political backgrounds. Among SCCC’s leaders you’ll find conservatives, moderates, liberals, Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Independents, etc. The members of SCCC look beyond partisanship, toward the common goal of achieving state laws and school policies based on factual evidence rather than emotional rhetoric.

Students for Concealed Carry on Campus is not affiliated with the NRA, a political party, or any other organization.

RELATED: SCC’s Feb. 17 – Mar. 3, 2016, Press Releases

Rape Survivor Speaks Out in Favor of Campus Carry


Frustrated with the lack response from Senator Diaz de la Portilla, Florida State University rape survivor and Students for Concealed Carry member pens op-ed asking for 15 minutes to plead her case.

In her letter published on TheHill.com, Shayna Lopez-Rivas describes the horror she experienced at the hands of her attacker. She asserts that, despite her use of pepper spray during a previous attack and her training in self-defense, situational awareness and disarmament, there are times when a firearm is the only tool that will level the playing field against an attacker. Currently Florida law prevents her from protecting herself and other students who find themselves in those situations.  

“0.1 percent of rapes were completed when women used a firearm as compared to a 34 percent completion rate when women used any other form of self-defense,” Lopez-Rivas asserts.  “Stats are easy to discuss, but when it comes to talking about being raped, my throat gets dry and my hands freeze up. It’s a lot harder to write about nightmares than it is to write about numbers.”

Lopez-Rivas first reached out to Senator Diaz de la Portilla in October of 2015 about “Campus Carry” House Bill 4001 and its companion, Senate Bill 68. Both bills were introduced on August 3, 2015, HB 4001 in the House by Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, D-Tallahassee, and SB 68 in the Senate by Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker. One has sailed through, while the other has stalled.

HB 4001 passed overwhelmingly on February 3, 2016. However the Senate version, SB 68 has been sitting in the Judiciary Committee since October 21, 2015.  As Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Senator de la Portilla has the sole authority to determine if a bill will be heard for a vote or left to die.

And left for dead is exactly what Lopez-Rivas, along with Bekah Hargrove, Director, Florida Students for Concealed Carry, claim he is doing to college students’ right to self-defense.  

In a letter posted on the Florida Students for Concealed Carry Facebook page, Hargrove calls for the dismissal of Senator de la Portilla as Chair of the Judicial Committee due to his inaction on the Senate’s “Campus Carry” bill.

“Senator Diaz de la Portilla has taken it upon himself to unilaterally decide the future of a bipartisan bill that the vast majority of legislative members support,” wrote Hargrove.  “If this type of behavior is permitted to continue, the legislative system will be fundamentally changed forever.  Senator Diaz de la Portilla represents exactly what is wrong in politics and the people must not let him continue to act as judge, jury, and executioner.”

Hargrove plans to make the same plea at the LSP State Government Seminar on Tuesday February 9, 2016. She will be speaking alongside Katy Burnett of the Bob Graham Center for Public Service at the University of Florida and Florida State University Police Chief David Perry. The seminar will start at 9 am in the Cabinet Room in the lower level of the Capitol Building.

Testimony of SCC Southwest Director Antonia Okafor, Before the Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs


Students for Concealed Carry respects that university presidents and system chancellors have a difficult task in implementing the state’s new campus carry law, and we commend institutions such as the University of Texas at Tyler and Texas State University for addressing legitimate concerns while respecting the clear intent of the law. Unfortunately, a handful of universities are considering policies that would undermine the intent and, in some cases, the very letter of the legislation signed by Governor Abbott.

The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston wants to prohibit concealed carry in 80% of its buildings, despite the fact that only 9% of its buildings are used for patient care. Included below is a copy of the campus carry map created by the UTMB campus carry committee. On it you’ll see that—not counting parking structures, where the university has no authority to ban concealed carry—the committee recommends prohibiting concealed carry in 135 of its 170 buildings. Just fifteen of those 170 buildings are identified as being used for patient care.

UTMB even wants to ban concealed carry in its medical library because the library houses a collection of rare documents and antique microscopes that they believe could be damaged by gunfire. We at SCC do not believe that the legislators who concluded that licensed concealed carry can be safely allowed near students would agree that it cannot be safely allowed near rare artifacts. If that were the case, concealed carry would surely be prohibited at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum or even in the Texas Capitol. More significantly, we believe that prohibiting licensed concealed carry on more than three-quarters of a campus clearly violates the law’s prohibition against rules or regulations that “have the effect of generally prohibiting license holders from carrying concealed handguns on the campus.”

Both the University of North Texas and Texas Tech University want to prohibit concealed carry at large venues that host events such as performances of the performing arts. This means that a license holder attending a play at UNT or Texas Tech would be denied the same right he or she enjoys when visiting a movie theater in Denton or Lubbock. We do not think it is reasonable to claim that the size of the venue necessitates prohibiting licensed concealed carry at a performance of a university choir or symphony, given that concealed carry is already allowed at countless musical and theatrical performances throughout the state, including at the Austin City Limits Music Festival, which each year attracts a crowd twice the size of Lubbock’s total population and four times the size of Denton’s total population.

The ACL Music Festival also serves as a strong rebuttal to UNT’s proposal that the university president be allowed to ban concealed carry campus wide for up to seven days when the university hosts a large-scale event involving the presence of alcohol. We believe that proposals such as these have less to do with the uniqueness of the campus environment than with task force members not understanding how licensed concealed carry is managed throughout the rest of the state.

This problem of being unfamiliar with and perhaps even paranoid about concealed carry is also demonstrated by several universities suggesting that concealed carry be banned at student recreation centers because, in their view, license holders cannot be trusted to keep their handguns concealed while working out. This proposal ignores the fact that license holders manage to exhibit sound judgment regarding when and when not to carry handguns at private health clubs; the fact that recreation centers are largely staffed by men and women whose jobs require them to wear business casual attire, not tank tops or swimsuits; and the fact that many of these facilities include student lounges, meeting rooms, and other non-athletic venues.

SCC is particularly concerned that both Texas Tech and the University of Texas at Austin want to let occupants of private offices designate their offices as criminally enforceable “gun-free” zones. Because the duties of a faculty member, staff member, research assistant, or teaching assistant may require entering one or more private offices multiple times each day, this policy would leave many license holders unable to carry on campus at all.

Consider, for example, an IT technician who must troubleshoot computers in numerous offices, a teaching assistant who must visit a professor’s office multiple times a day, or a research assistant who must coordinate with professors and graduate students in a half-dozen private offices? If, as the University of Texas has proposed, license holders are prohibited from leaving a handgun in a desk drawer or unattended backpack, how are these license holders supposed to accommodate an ever-changing patchwork of “gun-free” offices? Given that most license holders on campus are likely to be faculty, staff, or graduate students, a policy that renders many if not most faculty, staff, and graduate students unable to lawfully carry on campus must be viewed as a general prohibition.

Furthermore, why should employees of state colleges be the only state employees with the authority to arbitrarily criminalize licensed concealed carry in their offices? Licensed concealed carry is currently allowed in every office in the Texas Capitol. We at SCC do not think it reasonable for an employee of a state university to have more authority over licensed concealed carry than does a county clerk, a municipal waste management supervisor, or even a Texas legislator.

Finally, the most egregious policy proposal comes from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. They recommend that any license holder carrying a semiautomatic handgun on campus be required to carry the handgun with an unloaded chamber. This proposal would require license holders to use an inferior carry method in which very few of them are trained.

Included below are statements from highly qualified and, in some cases, world-renowned firearms instructors, denouncing this proposed empty-chamber policy. Also included are a couple of SCC press releases that go into greater detail about the many problems inherent to such a policy.

The short explanation is that requiring a semiautomatic handgun to be carried with an empty chamber would minimize and, in some cases, completely negate the handgun’s usefulness in a self-defense scenario. Furthermore, requiring this method of carry would render useless most training received from a civilian shooting school, a police academy, or the U.S. military. After months of heated debates about whether or not license holders have adequate training to carry guns on college campuses, this policy would turn even the most well-trained license holders into neophytes.

Additionally, this policy would create a whole new set of risks. For example, license holders unhappy with the minimal protection offered by a half-loaded gun would almost certainly drive to campus with the chamber loaded and then sit in their cars in the university parking lot, where the university has no authority to regulate concealed carry, and remove the live round from the chamber—a process much more likely to result in an accidental or negligent discharge than is anything a license holder would normally do during the course of a day. Then, at the end of the day, those same license holders would use the concealment of their cars to reload the chamber before driving home.

Conversely, license holders who walk or ride the bus to campus would be forced to use this inferior method of carry during their commutes. That means that a graduate student who encounters an assailant while walking home would have to rely on a half-loaded handgun for protection.

One of the most perplexing things about this proposed policy is the distinction it draws between semiautomatic handguns and revolvers. Both a double-action revolver and a double-action semiautomatic require roughly the same amount of pressure to pull the trigger, and both fire a round when the trigger is pulled; therefore, this policy seems to indicate an inadequate understanding of modern firearms.

The proposal that license holders carry guns with empty chambers is presumably aimed at preventing accidental or negligent discharges; however, simply requiring every handgun to be kept in a holster that covers the trigger guard is all that is needed to prevent a negligent discharge. This proposed empty-chamber policy is not just unnecessary; it is dangerous and counterproductive on virtually every front. We at SCC cannot conceive of any justification by which this policy could be considered “reasonable.”

Students for Concealed Carry believes that the Texas Legislature should clarify the scope and intent of the “reasonable rules” university presidents are authorized to make. We suggest that the legislature study the rules proposed by the various universities, codify those that make sense, and statutorily prohibit those that do not.

On January 26, 2016, Antonia Okafor, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry, testified before the Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs, regarding the ongoing process of implementing Texas’s impending campus carry law (effective August 1, 2016). Video of the full hearing is available here.

Third & Final Mock Shooting Event from WFAA


Here is the third and final mock-shooting experiment conducted by News 8 Dallas-Fort Worth (WFAA), to test the response of Texas CHL/LTC holders.

Like the previous two scenarios, this one demonstrates the importance of proper training; however, this one also demonstrates the importance of thinking twice before interjecting yourself into an unknown situation.

WFAA’s Mock Active-Shooter Scenario


WFAA, the Dallas-Fort Worth ABC affiliate, put four Texas CHL/LTC holders to the test in mock active-shooter scenarios. Watch the videos to see how they did.


SCC’s Response to Planned Anti-Campus Carry March by Members of the Modern Language Association


In this video, members of the Modern Language Association chant, “No guns, no cops, no violence!” during the MLA’s January 8 anti-campus carry rally in Austin. Apparently, these professors not only oppose letting trained, licensed adults protect themselves on campus; they also oppose letting trained, commissioned peace officers protect people on campus. Their proposed solution to violence is to make everyone on campus as vulnerable as possible.

AUSTIN, TX – Members of the Modern Language Association, concerned that Texas will soon allow the licensed concealed carry of handguns in university buildings, have decided to examine the new law, study the twenty-year history of licensed concealed carry in Texas, research the experiences of the many U.S. colleges that currently allow concealed carry in campus buildings, and publish a detailed analysis of the issue and its potential impact on—Just kidding; they decided to build a book fort in front of the Texas Capitol.

On Friday, January 8, members of the Modern Language Association (MLA)—which happens to be hosting its annual convention in Austin—will join with members of Gun Free UT to host an anti-campus carry march to the Texas Capitol, followed by a rally in which the protesters will build a “symbolic gun exclusion zone” out of books, on the Capitol steps. Selected members will then enter this no-guns-allowed book fort to read from texts that they believe can only be taught in a “gun-free environment.”

Antonia Okafor, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry (SCC), commented, “It’s appropriate that the highlight of this anti-campus carry protest will be a symbolic gun-free zone, since symbolic gun-free zones are exactly what these protesters hope to preserve at Texas universities.”

The basis for this protest is the dubious belief that licensed concealed carry on Texas college campuses will inhibit freedom of speech and the free exchange of controversial ideas. Completely ignored by the protesters is the reality that dozens and dozens of U.S. college campuses currently allow licensed concealed carry in campus buildings and that, after allowing campus carry for an average of more than five years, not one of those campuses has reported a single incident of a license holder using a handgun in a threatening manner. The protesters also ignore the successful history of licensed concealed carry throughout Texas—a Texan is significantly more likely to be struck by lightning than to be murdered or negligently killed by a concealed handgun license holder, and if all Americans (including children and the elderly) committed murder at the same rate as Texas CHL holders, the U.S. would have a homicide rate on par with the famously low rates in Australia, Canada, and England.

In a January 6 op-ed in the Austin American-Statesman, Diana Taylor, second vice president of the MLA, demonstrates that experience with the types of literary studies that fill MLA’s academic journals doesn’t translate into expertise on sociopolitical issues. After commending the “thoughtful” report of the campus carry policy working group at UT-Austin, Taylor blatantly contradicts the findings of that report by claiming (without citing a source), “Laws that allow licensed handgun carriers to bring concealed handguns into buildings on campuses have proved to actually increase the likelihood of violence in general.”

The report of UT-Austin’s admittedly anti-campus carry working group states, “Our examination of states that already have campus carry revealed little evidence of campus violence that can be directly linked to campus carry, and none that involves an intentional shooting…We found that the evidence does not support the claim that a causal link exists between campus carry and an increased rate of sexual assault. We found no evidence that campus carry has caused an increase in suicide rates on campuses in other states.” The report goes on to state, “We reached out to 17 research universities in the seven campus-carry states…Most respondents reported that campus carry had not had much direct impact on student life or academic affairs.” The working group’s findings are consistent with the preponderance of peer-reviewed studies on licensed concealed carry—including a 2015 study from Texas A&M University—which have found that concealed carry cannot be shown to lead to an increase in violent crime.

Texas has seen enough silly protests from both sides of the campus carry debate. The time for theatrics has passed; now is the time for a serious discussion about the implementation of the law. That is why Students for Concealed Carry has asked Texas Governor Greg Abbott to include campus carry in any special legislative session called during 2016. The state’s campus carry law should clearly define the authority of universities to regulate concealed carry on campus, so as to finally put an end to a debate that grows messier and costlier with each passing day.